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J Clin Oncol. 2009 Nov 10;27(32):5439-44. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.22.1135. Epub 2009 Sep 21.

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels are associated with breslow thickness at presentation and survival from melanoma.

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Section of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, St James's Hospital, Beckett St, Leeds LS9 7TF, United Kingdom.



A cohort study was carried out to test the hypothesis that higher vitamin D levels reduce the risk of relapse from melanoma.


A pilot retrospective study of 271 patients with melanoma suggested that vitamin D may protect against recurrence of melanoma. We tested these findings in a survival analysis in a cohort of 872 patients recruited to the Leeds Melanoma Cohort (median follow-up, 4.7 years).


In the retrospective study, self-reports of taking vitamin D supplements were nonsignificantly correlated with a reduced risk of melanoma relapse (odds ratio = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4 to 1.1; P = .09). Nonrelapsers had higher mean 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) levels than relapsers (49 v 46 nmol/L; P = .3; not statistically significant). In the cohort (prospective) study, higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) levels were associated with lower Breslow thickness at diagnosis (P = .002) and were independently protective of relapse and death: the hazard ratio for relapse-free survival (RFS) was 0.79 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.96; P = .01) for a 20 nmol/L increase in serum level. There was evidence of interaction between the vitamin D receptor (VDR) BsmI genotype and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) levels on RFS.


Results from the retrospective study were consistent with a role for vitamin D in melanoma outcome. The cohort study tests this hypothesis, providing evidence that higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) levels, at diagnosis, are associated with both thinner tumors and better survival from melanoma, independent of Breslow thickness. Patients with melanoma, and those at high risk of melanoma, should seek to ensure vitamin D sufficiency. Additional studies are needed to establish optimal serum levels for patients with melanoma.

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